FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 10, 2011


With FAA Law Being Debated on Senate Floor this Week, New Schumer-Backed Amendment Could Make Syracuse a Test Site for Cutting Edge Military Drones

Becoming a Test Site Would Create Jobs and Boost High-Tech Investment in the Region, and Help Police Crackdown on Northern Border Smuggling

Schumer: With its Concentration of Related Firms and Key Airfield, Syracuse is Ideal Site

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced his support for a new amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization bill that would expand unmanned drone testing, potentially bringing jobs and millions of dollars in high-tech investment to Syracuse. The amendment, being proposed by Senator Schumer and Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, would increase the number of test sites in the National Airspace System for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) from 4 to 10 and would require that at least one of those test sites includes a significant portion of public lands.
Schumer announced his support for the amendment and pledged to fight to ensure that Syracuse’s Hancock Field is one of the test sites chosen. Schumer said that Hancock Field is ideally positioned to be named a test site because of its attractive air space and concentration of related high-tech firms. The Central New York region has two restricted areas, four seasons, a varied terrain, an over water range, air to ground gunnery capability and large airspace volume- all key ingredients to being chosen as a test site.
“Hancock Field in Syracuse can become a job-creating center of high-tech innovation and development of cutting-edge drones that will have immense military, law enforcement and commercial applications. Drones are more important than ever to our troops overseas, our cops walking the beat and our border patrol agents keeping drugs off our streets, not to mention accurate mapping and more,” Schumer said. “Getting this amendment signed into law and designating Hancock as one of the sites will bring jobs and millions in investment to Central New York, all while increasing security across our northern border. I’m confident we’ll see this amendment pass and I’m committed to working in overdrive to ensure Hancock is chosen as a test site.”
"We applaud Senator Schumer's support for expanding the number of FAA Test-Sites. The airspace between Hancock Field and the Adirondack MOA is a perfect candidate to host a test-site,” said Bob Behler, president and CEO of SRC, Inc. “As an experimental test pilot, I know the importance of actually flying vehicles to test out the operational concepts. After working on integrating RPAs into the National Airspace for many years, I can personally attest that we need to have more test sites. This proposed site will benefit the entire region through positive economic impact and take advantage of the leadership position Central New York has in technology development.”
This week the U.S. Senate is debating the FAA Reauthorization Bill, which sets travel policy for the entire country and funds the Federal Aviation Administration. The bill is likely to be voted on in the next few weeks and has consistently received bipartisan support. Today, Schumer and Senator Wyden announced that they would propose an amendment to the underlying bill which would increase the number of test sites in the National Airspace System for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) from 4 to 10 and to require that at least one of those test sites includes a significant portion of public lands.
The amendment’s passage could be a massive boost for Central New York and set the table for firms like Sensis and SRC to forge productive, job-expanding strategic partnerships. With Hancock Field’s sterling reputation and the natural advantages of the region’s airspace, Hancock would be in an ideal position to be chosen as one of the sites. Today, Schumer pledged to work with his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get the amendment passed and then said he would fight tooth and nail to ensure that Hancock Airfield was chosen as one of the test sites.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or UAV’s have become an increasingly important component of U.S. security strategy.  The UAV’s, sometimes called drones, are most well known for being used in Afghanistan and Northwest Pakistan to target terrorists and keep American troops out of the line of fire from anti-aircraft guns. Additionally, they have been used inside the U.S. to tackle drug smuggling across the Northern Border and aid local police departments. Schumer’s amendment would take the country’s increasing reliance on drones and attempt to couple it with Syracuse’s  Hancock Field. Being chosen as a test site would unleash millions of investment into the region and create jobs.